Harawira offensive & dumb. No excuses

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, November 13th, 2009 - 72 comments
Categories: corruption, racism - Tags:

Frankly, I don’t appreciate being called a white motherf**ker, by Buddy Mikaere and Hone Harawira. Before you start, that’s not to deny that Pakeha stole vast amounts of Maori resources despite the treaty signed between the Crown and iwi, and in spite of the Crown’s own laws.  The thief – the Crown – and the victims – the iwi – still exist. Compensation for those thefts is due and it is right.

But none of that justifies calling my whole ethnic group motherf**kers, which is what Harawira did. Especially as he was saying that as part of trying to excuse his rorting of his MP’s privileges. It is not “puritanical bullsh*t” to demand that people placed in a position of trust obey the rules when they’re spending our money.

The really dumb thing is that Harawira was under no obligation to stay at the conference. He’s an MP, not an employee. He didn’t need to lie that he was sick, he didn’t need to bring out all the unjustified rage to try to distract from the issue. He should have just told the truth at the start – that he was off for a day’s holiday with his wife and paid Parliamentary Services back.

Turning to the “if I should be suspended for swearing, Goff and his mates should be lined up against a wall and shot” comment, don’t give me that ‘he said “if”‘ crap. The meaning of our words goes beyond the strict semantic construction of our sentences. And Harawira is not some babe in the woods. He is a politician from a political family from a culture steeped in oral tradition. He knew exactly how the public would understand his words. Willie Jackson knew it too, that’s why he tried to stop him. Harawira’s chilling “beware, mate” at the end should put that beyond doubt.

Even if Harawira was right – that Pakeha are “white motherf**kers”, that Parliament’s spending rules are “puritanical bullsh*t”, and “Goff… should… be shot” (and he’s not) you can’t, in politics, ignore the reality of how others react. Ngapuhi gets it. They recognise that Harawira has resurrected the idea of a self-centred Maori who ignores the rules and hates Pakeha. They recognise the damage that Harawira’s comments have inevitably done to race relations in this country. They do not want their interests and the progress they’ve been making damaged by Harawira’s taint, which is why they’ve been so quick to disassociate themselves from him and have publicly condemned him.

It’s a terrible shame that Harawira has done this. And I can’t work out why. He knew what he was doing and what he was saying. And he has forced everyone to turn their backs on him. The Maori Party has no real choice but to kick him out, and Key can’t possibly countenance having Harawira vote confidence and supply for his government.

He should become an independent and work to rebuild people’s trust and his reputation. It’ll take some doing. Unfortunately, he’s rejected that idea, burning more bridges in the process. It’s a shame to see him waste his career like this but it’s bloody hard to have any sympathy for him.

72 comments on “Harawira offensive & dumb. No excuses”

  1. Gosman 1

    Excellent post and points well made.

  2. RedLogix 2

    Marty, an excellent and thoughtful summary. I’ve refrained from entering this debate, I’ve some sympathy for Hone but it just makes me plain sad to see him digging such a deep hole for himself with all the red-necks happily jeering him on.

  3. Very thoughtful post. I can’t agree that he should be thrown out of anywhere because of the things he has just done. I don’t like the language, I don’t agree that constantly recalling past wrongs and using them as justification for adding to them takes anyone forward, there were dirty doings we should remember, but only trying to do better will advance and improve.
    As you say its a terrible shame that Harawira has done this. But he is a passionate advocate for Maori and has done and will do things that have been very positive for Maori and NZ in total. There is a tendency to lash out in many Maori men, physically and verbally, criminal statistics show this. Hone is also prone to the verbal, but he then understands the frustrations of his peers. Now he has been censured, I think he should be allowed to keep on in his positions, not be kicked out of the Maori Party. I think Buddy Mikaere’s language was overblown too. Listening to Winston Peters on this, it was such a contrast between honestly and hotly expressed words from Hone, and carefully enunciated PR-speak from Peters the exquisite chameleon.

    • prism 3.1

      Perhaps the Maori Party would be right to ask Hone to move on the basis that he won’t change and some other ‘event’ will happen soon. Perhaps he would do well as a talkshow host.

  4. willaspish 4

    Christ, can we just move on.
    So what, some Maori fella called it as it is and perhaps he used some colourful language but in the last series of Outrageous Fortune I heard the word ‘cunt’ on mainstream telly for the first time and barely batted an eyelid. Perhaps 20 years ago, when we were a bit more prudish, the language was offensive but it is much more commonplace today.

    The MSM have been all over this like a cheap suit, hundreds of blogs have written about it and even breakfast telly has covered it (I almost spewed yesterday when I watched Goff and Henry rollicking on the Breakfast couch). And all this makes, Rodney Hide the happiest man in NZ this week. Hide by name, hide by nature. I’ve barely seen the guy — he has virtually disappeared.

    Don’t contribute to this storm in a teacup. Let’s get back to the real debate.

  5. I was quite indifferent to the initial email that Hone sent. It was a private email between two members of the Maori Party and politicians and humans do on occasions go over the top with their language.

    The subsequent public response was incredible however. Once a politician finds themselves in a hole they should stop digging.

    You are right Marty to question why Hone should be doing this. I suspect that he has had enough of the Maori Party toading up to and supporting the National Party and maybe he just wants out.

    He is obviously finding the current experience neither satisfying nor mana enhancing.

    • Craig Ranapia 5.1

      mickysavage wrote:
      I was quite indifferent to the initial email that Hone sent. It was a private email between two members of the Maori Party and politicians and humans do on occasions go over the top with their language.

      I reply:

      Nah, I’m going to call bullshit on that. I used to work for a National list MP, and opening the mail wasn’t always a very pleasant experience. I’m not talking about the thoughtful criticism that you can accept as part of the job, regardless of which party you belong to. But the mad, bad, obscene and sometimes downright scary (what kind of demented crazy sends used sanitary pads or faeces through the mail?) Most of it went in the round file, and a (thankfully miniscule proportion) was handed on to the Police.

      He’s a damn MP, and if you can’t handle public scrutiny and public criticism without going batshit crazy then I’d disrespectfully suggest you should get the hell out and find a more agreeable way to pass your time.

      • the sprout 5.1.1

        yeah you’re so right Craig. he’d be the first MP ever to lose his rag from being provoked, he should totally be hung drawn and quartered as a lesson to all. make a really big example of him for not being really grateful for all that’s been done for him.

        • Craig Ranapia 5.1.1.1

          Sprout:

          *sigh* How about we take out for a walk the idea that adults takes responsibility for their actions? Sorry, but I’m getting damn tired of all the enabling and excuse making for Harawira going on around here. *BTW, the correct terminology isn’t “hung, drawn and quartered” but “lynched”. If you’re going to be a drama queen, why not go all the way and dog-whistle that I’m racist to boot?)

          Anyone around here gotten any frothy, abusive e-mails from John Key, Bill English or Rodney Hide recently? If so, I expect them to published and mocked without mercy.

          • the sprout 5.1.1.1.1

            sorry Craig, could you explain where exactly i suggested he shouldn’t be responsible for his actions and where i’ve acted as an enabler? and why would i make spurious accusations about you being a racist, wouldn’t that be bullshit too?
            love the drama queen reference though, still working that pot-kettle angle i see.

      • But it was a private email. Hone had not booked the front page of the Herald and I am pretty sure thought that it would not be publicised, Because of this I am very indifferent to the initial comment.

        His subsequent public utterings and “apology” are another thing however.

        I reglly get the impression that he is deeply uncomfortable with the Maori Party’s current position. I do not think he is trying to shift this but he is trying to differentiate himself from Sharples and Turia.

        • Craig Ranapia 5.1.2.1

          But it was a private email. Hone had not booked the front page of the Herald and I am pretty sure thought that it would not be publicised,

          Nope, he DARED Mikaere to go to the media — and not even I think Harawira is so stupid that he wasn’t fully aware who he is.

  6. burt 6

    It is not “puritanical bullsh*t’ to demand that people placed in a position of trust obey the rules when they’re spending our money.

    Well…. where do I start. Finally you Labour supporters are getting to understand that this is important.

    • snoozer 6.1

      I’m struggling to think of anyone, labour or otherwise, who has defended people saying they don’t need to obey the rules.

      just because it would suit your narrative if it were true, don’t make it true.

    • prism 6.2

      It’s money that counts more than anything Burt? Inner space (your pocket) is your main criteria then?

  7. Con 7

    This post is silly and, I think, disingenuous.

    When did Harawira call “your whole ethnic group” anything? You are reading his comment that way because it suits you to be outraged.

    My advice is to just chill out and not let the newspapers wind you up like some clockwork toy.

    • Daveo 7.1

      Hone’s words were:

      “White motherf****** have been raping our lands and ripping us off for centuries and all of a sudden you want me to play along with their puritanical bullsh**.”

      I think it’s pretty clear he was referring to Pakeha in general – the white man – as holding “puritanical bullshit” beliefs like accountability for public figures. Hence Pakeha as an ethnic group are in his view a bunch of “white motherfuckers”.

      Though I’m sure Hone would say he couldn’t possibly be a racist, after all some of his best friends are Pakehas.

      • the sprout 7.1.1

        i think it’s pretty clear on the basis of his initial comment and subsequent apology that he WASN’T referring to an entire race.

        Eek! ANGRY BLACKMAN

        to think otherwise is either disingenuous or borne disposition to take offence remarkably easily.

        • Scribe 7.1.1.1

          I agree with the sprout.

          If someone were to say “Muslims have been terrorising people in the United States”, based on the 9/11 crowd and the latest tragic incident at Fort Hood, would that mean you’re saying all Muslims are terrorists?

          It’s one of the problems of the imprecise English language. In Hone’s view, and it’s probably accurate, all the people who stole Maori land were white people. That doesn’t meant all white people stole Maori land.

          It’s probably far too subtle for most people.

          • Daveo 7.1.1.1.1

            If someone were to say “Muslims have been terrorising people in the United States’, based on the 9/11 crowd and the latest tragic incident at Fort Hood, would that mean you’re saying all Muslims are terrorists?

            I would call it a bigoted and possibly racist statement, yes. It makes it appear that the crime is to be Muslim, not to be a terrorist, and implies that all Muslims are a threat.

            You could accurately say “Islamic terrorists”, just as Hone could have said “white imperialists”. He didn’t, though, he said all white people were motherfuckers.

          • snoozer 7.1.1.1.2

            It’s pretty clear that Hone is rejecting the rules of ‘whites’ in general. but, like marty says, the precise semantics don’t matter.

            Hone knew what meaning people would take from his words, and it’s the meaning that people took.

            you’re flogging a dead horse trying to defend him and I don’t know why you’re bothering.

        • Daveo 7.1.1.2

          I don’t know how you can read Hone’s comments as being about anything other than an assumption that the standards of accountability he was being held to (fair or otherwise) were Pakeha “puritanical bullshit”.

          That would make Pakeha in general the “white motherfuckers” he was referring to. He can say whatever he likes to explain it away in his apology, it was racist and it was genuinely offensive to a lot of Pakeha New Zealanders.

          You don’t do yourself any credit trying to pretend that offence isn’t justified, nor for your desperate attempts to cover up Harawira’s racist attitudes.

        • Craig Ranapia 7.1.1.3

          And as I said on your post, if you think “motherfucker” or trivialising RAPE for rhetorical effect adds anything worthwhile to any discussion worth having, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree. To be honest, I think parsing the context is just a way of trying to change the subject.

          • the sprout 7.1.1.3.1

            gee Craig, and if you’d read my reply you would have seen i agreed entirely

            Eek! ANGRY BLACKMAN

            selective quoting to achieve effect, who’d have thought that would happen in this debate?

            • Craig Ranapia 7.1.1.3.1.1

              Spout:

              Quite right — if I was still inside the edit window, I’d edit my initial comment to “anyone who thinks” etc. Please accept my apology for the misattribution.

            • the sprout 7.1.1.3.1.2

              no problem Craig, thanks for saying 😉

          • snoozer 7.1.1.3.2

            I’m glad that it’s only rocky and the sprout who are wasting their time trying to minimise and equivocate on this.

            It would be bad for the standard to be seen as defending Hone after his racist and self-entitled remarks and actions.

            • the sprout 7.1.1.3.2.1

              worse still if the standard were to suck up one reactionary meme that’s specifically intended to fuel what is indeed a time-wasting distraction.

            • Daveo 7.1.1.3.2.2

              There’s nothing reactionary in calling a racist a racist.

              Of course, you can be a racist in doing so (like Goff on Breakfast the other day) but the one does not require the other.

              Personally I think Hone’s racist and sexist comments were pretty reactionary themselves.

            • the sprout 7.1.1.3.2.3

              agreed, but that’s hardly call for

              a) a vastly disproportionate response, especially when compared to the virtual non-response for similar or worse

              b) buying into Hone’s game in the first place

            • snoozer 7.1.1.3.2.4

              where’s the reactionarism?

              Hone was being racist. Hone was trying to cover for his abuse of parliamentary privileges by claiming some kind of Maori exceptionalism.

              I don’t deny there is a strong reactionary streak in this country but it is not evident in this issue.

              You’re tilting at windmills and it does you a disservice.

            • Pascal's bookie 7.1.1.3.2.5

              “Hone was trying to cover for his abuse of parliamentary privileges by claiming some kind of Maori exceptionalism.”

              Sort of, and yeah, it’s a shit argument, But it was Buddy that first made the comparison, saying that if Hone had not paid for his wife’s Paris costs then he was no different from all those white mofos.

              Hone was saying that nah, that’s bullshit actually. White mofos have been stealing our land for centuries etc, which is not the same as accounting for expenses.

              But I agree that accounting for expenses is important.

  8. gitmo 8

    Personally I wasn’t offended by Hone’s email – that said I can’t disagree with anything in your post.

    • ak 8.1

      Nor I, gitmo. And up until a couple of days ago when you called me a racist cunt (oh yes, suitably qualified with what Marty accurately calls the “if” crap) and the poster “agreed with the sentiment”, I had little understanding of the full impact of Hone’s words on innocent pakeha. So thanks for that, good post Marty.

  9. One of the amusing things about this continuing saga is the way Kiwis are getting so uptight about what is a pretty innocuous word in its country of origin. I feel for them becuase I too was upset when I was called it until I checked out the use of the word where it came from, the United States. So I suggest you cool it guys. It is on a par with my mother using the word ‘dam’ in the company of American officers during WWII, to be taken aside and told only ladies of the street used the word.

    • snoozer 9.1

      for me, it’s not about the word mofo, it’s the rest of it. especially the idea that spending rules are ‘white man’ puritanical bs.

      • burt 9.1.1

        But it seems that you are OK with white people in parliament deciding when they have and have not broken the rules…. Or is that different because it was Labour?

        • snoozer 9.1.1.1

          give it a rest burt.

          speaking of which, when is National going to pay back that GST they owe?

          • Armchair Critic 9.1.1.1.1

            And when will they apologise for that million dollar subsidy they got from their EB mates, which they used to almost steal the 2005 election?

            • burt 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Armchair Critic

              Oh yes I forgot, the EB spending was an assault on democracy but Labour spending an extra $800,000 made no difference to the outcome of the election. Only a complete partisan could take this position so you are welcome to it.

              I suspect you would have a different position if National stole an election and told the AG to go F-Himself with his silly insistence that the laws of electoral funding should be important to parliament.

              Wake up you idiot, you can’t have it both ways either uncontrolled election spending is bad and is bad irrespective of which party do it or it makes no difference to the election outcome.

            • Daveo 9.1.1.1.1.2

              Can someone ban burt? He seems obsessed with the pledge card controversy from four years ago and tries to make every conversation about it despite the fact everyone else has moved on. It’s just really tiring to have to read through his shit.

              [lprent: Yeah he is a bit tedious on the subject. But if I banned people on that basis then
              a. I wouldn’t get any work done.
              b. there wouldn’t be anyone left.. ]

            • Armchair Critic 9.1.1.1.1.3

              settle down burt, you are reading far too much into my comment.

    • Craig Ranapia 9.2

      jcuknz:

      Yeah, and below the Mason-Dixon line “uppity’ is a pretty innocuous term to apply to folks like Michelle Obama and the Oreo nigger she’s married to . Nay, a term of endearment!

      Doesn’t make Lynn Westmoreland.any less of an arsehole though.

      Go here for context: http://ta-nehisicoates.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/09/uppity_obama.php

      Perhaps we can come up with hate speech of our own instead of importing it from America?

  10. gobsmacked 10

    Reports suggest there could be trouble in Wellington this weekend.

    Thousands of people are expected to gather and wave banners in support of “All Whites”.

    • ropata 10.1

      In NZ, the most popular sport is “race-baiting”. It has a long and time-honoured tradition. The sport is played in a series of statements to the media in a game of one-upmanship. Players take turns fighting for the moral high ground, allowing them “political points”. Like soccer, a typical move is for one player to make an error leading to a tackle. At this point players often use the “hollywood” strategy, acting wounded and aggrieved, the player whose act is most convincing wins the moral high ground. (until the next exciting game).

      Recent games were held in Mt Albert, where a rank outsider in this bruising sport, Melissa Lee, made a transparent attempt to steal “political points” by being of the wrong race. Legitimate players of the game are white or brown ONLY, yellow is of course not permitted.

  11. torydog 12

    Spot on. Thank god there is someone at the standard who thinks of all kiwis rather then a select few who seem intent on dragging out there own “independent” agenda…which aint gonna happen here!

    Can i suggest Hone move to Fiji and hang with his mate!

    Ps take your mama with ya!

  12. J Mex 13

    Good post and points well made.

    Agree also with Snoozer:

    “I’m glad that it’s only rocky and the sprout who are wasting their time trying to minimise and equivocate on this.

    It would be bad for the standard to be seen as defending Hone after his racist and self-entitled remarks and actions.”

  13. Maui 14

    In defence of Harawira .. a street-level politician using the language of the streets on radio suggests impatience with a party of tribal aristocracy and their corporate interests.

    There should be a place for Hone in a broad and inclusive community-based party representing common people in tough times .. once he has settled the issue of potential misuse of public funds.

    But is NZ Labour *that* party .. ?

  14. toad 15

    Must be about time for Michael Lhaws to come up with another genuinely racist pronouncement and deflect the heat from Hone.

    • J Mex 15.1

      I just hope the Green party politicians manage to hold themselves up to the high moral standards of talkback hosts, Toad.

      Maybe you should suggest that Laws should take advice on the matter from his colleague, Willie Jackson?

  15. Anne 16

    Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples are currently at a press conference explaining why they want to dump Harawira.

    I wonder who is advising them behind the scenes?

    • Pascal's bookie 16.1

      I hate to say it, but I fear it’s the same folks that brought Labour the FSA. Political Expediency and Sons, Inc.

    • Craig Ranapia 16.2

      Anne: I suspect Turia doesn’t need any advice to be seriously pissed off that Harawira LIED to her about being sick and I’ve heard some gossip from reliable sources that this whole incident is the last straw not a first offence.

      Look, I’m no supporter of the Maori Party but I know Turia and Sharples well enough that they don’t have a very high bullshit tolerance. Nor should they.

      • dave 16.2.1

        Craig, its a pity the same cannot be said for Harawiras local electorate committee. They dont even believed Harawira lied to Turia, and that’s what they are telling their people and their people are believing it. They are tolerating bullshit so much they are spreading it themselves.

  16. gobsmacked 17

    Yes, Turia’s standing by the bridge with a petrol-soaked rag. It’s going to be burnt any moment now. Big shift in the last couple of days.

    Dare I hope that the MSM (especially the press gallery) pause for reflection? A year of Pakeha political commentary has told us – with very, very few exceptions – that because John Key was getting along with Pita and Tariana, everything was fine. You only had to keep half an eye/ear on the Maori media to know that wasn’t true. And (cough) some of us have been saying so, not least on this blog.

    Start looking beneath the surface, guys. It’s called journalism.

  17. Anne 18

    Yes, it would be wonderful if the MSM journalists started looking beneath the surface. The trouble is, I suspect some of them at least are being advised by the same advisors as Pita and Co.

  18. Craig Ranapia 19

    gobsmacked:

    What planet are you on? I personally think the MSM has shown — well, not racist but a pretty condescending attitude towards the Maori Party’s entry into the Government. Those cheeky darkies (to coin a phrase) didn’t stick to the script, and we can’t have that. Can we?

    I’d also suggest that the MSM really need to wrap their heads around the fact that the whole FPP ‘elected dictatorship’ way of politics is gone. I know we all grieve in different ways, but when you’re been stuck on denial and anger for sixteen years that’s (to used a psychoanalytical term) fucked in the head.

    • the sprout 19.1

      well said

    • gobsmacked 19.2

      Re-read my comment, Craig.

      There are – and have been for ages – divisions within the Maori Party. The MSM ignored them. Now they have surfaced.

      • Craig Ranapia 19.2.1

        gobsmacked wrote:

        We’re just going to have to agree to disagree on that. And so what? No political party in this country is a Borg Collective (no more than Maori in general), but when it’s the “Maaaris” the end of the fucking world is nigh. The political landscape is also a wee bit more complex than the red corner and the blue corner — which isn’t a bad thing either.

        • Pure abstraction 19.2.1.1

          We’re just going to have to agree to disagree on that. And so what?

          Well isn’t it true that people disagree just for the sake of disagreeing?

          I think so.

          When it is Leigh, it becomes ‘Lee’.

          Isn’t it in a person’s nature, to be just plain difficult?

          Isn’t it in a person’s nature to be petty? But in a ‘masculine’ fashion- whatever that means.

  19. gingercrush 20

    A very fine post Marty. I think what Harawira has done is disgusting but other MPs in other parties have been as disgusting. I.e. David Garret in Act. I don’t think he should resign. In particular this whole event shows very poor leadership and organisation within the party. I also have to wonder how much of a discord there is between the leadership of the Maori Party and the Maori people they’re suppose to represent. Losing Te Tai Tokerau would be a big loss for the Maori Party. The real issue seems to be that there has obviously been ongoing problems yet either the Party waited for Hone to snap or refused to reconcile differences.

    The Maori Party have given too much to the government. For me its not a problem because I’m a big National supporter. The Maori Party remains popular within Maori but for how long? Nothing I’ve seen from the Maori Party point to something that will be long-term. They don’t have the long-held values of the Greens or even the principles around the Act party. Without that it seems difficult to see the Maori Party in any position to keep receiving votes. So far its been easy. But this is just one year into a new government. The Foreshore and Seabed issue could well be buried within a year. What happens then and what happens when Labour gets momentum again.

  20. Roflcopter 21

    A very good read Marty, well done.

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